My Lovely Daughter is a creepy, albeit rudimentary "alchemist simulator" where you accumulate money, build monstrous homunculi and attempt to revive your long dead daughter. You buy materials from a questionable old lady who lives nearby, and use them to create a wide variety of golems, who you then put to work around the village to earn you more cash to continue your experiments.
The Story & Flow
The story begins simply, mainly because your character has amnesia. You do know that you are an alchemist who lives on the outskirts of a very unhappy village, and that your daughter, who has clearly been dead for some time, lies in her bed, preserved to prevent rapid decay. Your mission is to bring her back, but due to your amnesia, you can't remember much about your life in the village, or even how or when you became an alchemist. What you do have is a mystical book of formulas, information on the villagers, and the means and methods to create homunculi, elemental golems made from an arcane ritualistic circle. Weeks and months fall off the calendar as you toil away, working to create new 'daughters' to help earn you money and fund your research. But when the time is right, will you murder your creations to bring back your lovely daughter? Or will you show mercy to your new "family"?
You send your girls about the village, earning money to continue your experiments, and putting your "girls" to work also raises their soul affinity. Each homunculi has an emotion bound to it, be it Fear, Joy, Sadness or Anger, and each job has an emotion bound to it as well. Pairing the right girl with the right job will yield a more positive result, and once the homunculi reach a certain point, you have the option to sacrifice them, recovering quality resources and increasing the affinity within the soul gem that is keeping your daughter's spirit bound to this world. It will take many, many sacrifices to bring back your daughter's soul, as just filling the gem with emotions will not be enough on its own.
The messed up part (besides murdering your creations) comes when you create your new "daughters". They each have their own personalities, and things can get depressing, fast. They all have their own wants and desires, and they often want to please you, and you them (even though you have your own ulterior motives). Each golem has its own endearing traits and killing them does feel like a betrayal. The game is set up to screw with your emotions, and it often succeeds, wildly.
On the whole, the game is engaging and works very well. One complaint I have, is that the game can get repetitive, and occasionally, it can be tough to find certain information, which can then become a chore. I also wish that the reputations of the villagers had more of an impact on the story and mechanics of the game. Often, I would manage to avoid disappointing a villager by just not doing the jobs they asked me to do, and since there are no real repercussions to not doing a job, it feels like a bit of a cheat.
Graphics & Sound
My Lovely Daughter is creepy as hell, with a beautifully macabre, hand-drawn gothic style that reminded me of The Nightmare Before Christmas. The homunculi designs are unique and varied, adn the visuals themselves are stunning and atmospheric, with almost everything being presented in sepia tones and grays, with the occasional shades of blood red. The music for the game is also extremely well done, with somber, morose, depressing (and completely fitting) tones and music keeping you on edge, making the title that much stronger from an atmospheric sense. Also, the effects and little voice and sound clips are used effectively throughout the game, leading to some truly spine tingling moments. This game knows how to get in your head in the most beautiful of ways.